Top Enlisted Army National Guard leader visits Kentucky troops in Afghanistan

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Paul Evans, KY ADT 4 Public Affairs NCO

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Enlisted members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4 gathered together for a visit with Command Sgt. Maj. Richard J. Burch during a visit on April 4, 2012 in southern Afghanistan. Burch is the current Command Sgt. Maj. of the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Evans)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — Far off the beaten path in the mountains of southern Afghanistan is typically not the place you would find Command Sgt. Maj. Richard J. Burch. As the Army National Guard’s top enlisted leader in Washington, D.C., Burch keeps a busy schedule, making his stop all the more important, albeit brief.

“Since we don’t have much time here, I want to allow as much time to interact with you and see what’s on your minds and what I can do to help you to be better Soldiers, Airmen,” Burch said.

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Command Sgt. Maj. Richard J. Burch speaks to the audience during a visit with the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4 on April 4, 2012 in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. William Lile of Louisville, Ky. listens. Burch is the current Command Sgt. Maj. of the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Evans)

Before answering questions from his audience, enlisted members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, Burch addressed a few issues facing the National Guard.

“We have to make sure that we maintain the readiness level that’s needed to accomplish the missions that we’re asked to accomplish. Whether it’s stateside with a tornado, a flood, or whatever it might be or doing the things you’re doing day to day right now…every day’s a new challenge, every day something different comes up, but every day we have to refocus and look at the mission ahead for the day,” Burch noted.

“Make sure you’re doing the right things to prepare for those missions ahead of you,” Burch added. “It’s critical…to make the ADT mission successful while you’re here.”

Burch’s second key message was helping meet needs of families and employers back home.

“We can’t do what we do without the support of our families and our employers. They really are the folks in the rear that are making sure that everything’s in order for when we get home,” Burch said. “We can focus on what we’re doing here in theatre knowing full well that our families and employers are being taken care of back home.”

Following his discussion of issues facing the National Guard and deployed Soldiers, Burch took some time to answer questions before honoring a few standout Soldiers with coins.

“It’s an honor to have the National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. come here,” said Spc. Michael Hilario, a 47-year-old resident of Lexington, Ky. “You have somebody of that rank and the stature that he holds in Washington…that speaks volumes to me. It lets us know that we’re on the right track,” Hilario added.

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